Week of March 6th

 March 6th: Called Judy Chu to speak out against HR 861 (terminating the EPA, includig cutting funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative), HR 147 criminalizing abortion, and HR 354 defunding Planned Parenthood.

Called Dianne Feinstein & Kamala Harris to speak out against Trump’s budget slashing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; against House Joint Resolution 69 which would repeal protection of wildlife; and against any budget proposal that would defund Planned Parenthood.

March 7th: wrote postcards of thanks to some representatives who are part of the climate caucus: Darrell Issa (R-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Mia Love (R-UT), and Mark Amodei (R-NV). Also mailed a birthday card to the notorious RBG, who turns 83 on March 15th (and if you pray, my friends, pray for the long life of RBG).

Listened in to the Indivisible call about the Affordable Care Act. Also, one important takeaway: even if you’re in a blue state and are represented by staunchly liberal Members of Congress, STILL CALL: they need to hear your voice and know their constituency’s concerns.

March 8th: Called Judy Chu, Dianne Feinstein, and Kamala Harris in support of the ACA and against the rush job on the AHCA. In particular, I expressed concern that the bill be assigned a score by the Congressional Budget Office before any voting take place. The CBO will try to ascertain the actual financial effect of the changes on the American public. I also expressed my opposition to the AHCA’s proposed freeze on the Medicaid expansion and reduction of Medicaid in the future and my opposition to its defunding of Planned Parenthood.

March 10th: Called Dianne Feinstein, and Kamala Harris to express opposition to the REINS and Midnight Rules Relief Act, both of which promise to hold up regulation of industry by subjecting all regulation to Congressional approval (both redundant and counterproductive to the purpose of regulating industry in the first place, which is to protect consumers and the public from corporate abuse). Donated $10 to Sherrod Brown (Ohio) (an NPR article on him here), Kathryn Allen (Utah), and Jon Ossoff (Georgia). Brown will run for reelection in 2018 and it’s possible Kasich will decide to run against him. Allen is posing a Nov. 2018 challenge to Jason Chaffetz (the charmer who seems to think that if poor people would stop buying iPhones, they’d be able to afford health care).  Ossoff is running to take the seat in Georgia that Trump’s appointment of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary. The election happens in April 2017, and Dems feel that a Democratic “takeover” of this seat will help send a clear message to the establishment about how angry we all are about what a sham the AHCA is.

Postcard Gallery!

Week of February 26th

Monday: Called Judy Chu (626-304-0110), Dianne Feinstein (310-914-7300), and Kamala Harris (213-894-5000) to express support for the Senate bill McCain introduced to require Congressional approval before Trump lifts sanctions on Russia, and for bills introduced in the House (HR371) and Senate (S65) requiring the President to disclose and divest himself from financial conflicts of interest.

Tuesday: Called Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to urge them to vote against Ryan Zinke and Rick Perry for Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Energy, respectively.

Wednesday: Tried to call the White House but the lines were busy every time I tried. Ready to tell the staffer that I don’t support any cuts to the EPA. Will try again Friday.

Thursday: Wrote this one for The Donald:

Dear President Trump:

I am writing to express my dismay at your move to defund domestic programs, in particular the EPA, and to increase spending on the military.

The EPA performs the crucial function of protecting citizens from environmental abuses inflicted by corporations which are, by definition and mandate, more interested in the bottom line than the long term health of a locality or the human population that lives and works within it. To cut the EPA in the interests of business is only to give businesses the tools to extract and export wealth from a locality with even less concern for the long term ecological and financial health of that locality than they currently exhibit.

Without the EPA, only the wealthy will be able to afford what should not be a luxury but a human right: clean water, clean air, a thriving and diverse nonhuman ecosystem, and a safe and healthy place for our children to live.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, JPL stored rocket fuel waste in seepage pits in the Arroyo Seco of the Pasadena area, where I now live. As a result, the drinking water was infused with perchlorates, a compound that causes thyroid disorders. Thanks to the EPA, this problem was brought to light and remedied. The groundwater is still being cleaned, more than 20 years later, but now the water in my neighborhood is purchased by Pasadena Water and Power from the Metropolitan Water District, which gets water from the Colorado River and other non-contaminated sources. If it were not for the EPA, I might have raised my children in a neighborhood with contaminated water. JPL would not have been forced to stop their storage practices or to fund a cleanup. The EPA may have saved my life and the lives of my children.

Please stop your plans to cut or de-fund the EPA. Its work is absolutely vital to the health of our nation.

Sent him a postcard version, too, because why not.

Friday: Call Judy Chu, Dianne Feinstein, and Kamala Harris to ask them to oppose the gutting of the Consumer Protection Bill. As one of my activist friends wrote to me:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has returned roughly $11.8 billion to 29 million consumers since its inception in 2011. This article details just how much the CFPG has had the backs of students, credit card holders, homeowners, and consumers. Most recently, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for its illegal practice of opening unauthorized accounts.

Donald Trump promised to gut this agency. The Republicans doubled down on this and recently introduced two companion bills that would eliminate the bureau altogether. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Senate Bill (S.370) and Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced the House Bill (H.R. 1031). If passed, these bills would repeal Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB. ”

 

 

 

 

February 26th, 2017

Based on this news item, I called Cotton to point out the urgency of appointing a special prosecutor and insisting that Sessions recuse himself from an investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia, and then called Issa to thank him for calling for a special prosecutor.

February 24th, 2017

I got a lot done today waiting for my kids to perform at their school’s Rock Fest. Here’s the list:

  1. Called the White House (202)-456-1111 to register concern over the “ramping” up of ICE’s powers and the broadening of their deportation mandate (which, I argued, will actually make the country less secure by removing the imperative to prioritize, say, someone with a drug felony charge over, say, a child in the local elementary school).
  2. Called Judy Chu, Dianne Feinstein, and Kamala Harris to state my support of the NEA and the NEH.
  3. Called the Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, to ask him to veto two House Bills that would suppress protest by imposing extreme fines and criminalize the wearing of masks to protect oneself from tear gas. Check out the ACLU’s action here.
  4. Called Jerry Brown to express my concern over Scott Pruitt’s appointment and to encourage him to continue making California a global leader in the fight against climate change, and to encourage him to pursue a revenue-neutral carbon fee.
  5. Sent a thank-you card to CNN’s Dan Lemon to applaud his cutting short an interview with Paris Dennard when Dennard would not stop dismissing the story (of Trump’s airing of high-security documents at Mar-a-Lago) as “fake news.” Check it here. If you want to do the same, he can be reached c/o CNN, 10 Columbus Circle, NY, NY 10019.
  6. Emailed a thank-you Kamala Harris for standing up for immigrants, and to Elizabeth Warren and Katherine Clark for introducing the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Bill. Kamala Harris: Email or  mail: 312 N. Spring St. Suite 1748, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Elizabeth Warren: Email or mail: 2400 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, MA 02203. Katherine Clark: Email or mail: 701 Concord Ave., Suite 101, Cambridge, MA 02138.

February 23, 2017

I decided to try a triple-barreled approach today. I called the White House Comment line (202-456-1111) to register my concern over Trump’s actions against transgender student protections. I also wrote a postcard with a short version of my talking points and then a letter with a  more fleshed-out treatment of the arguments.

 

President Donald Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

I am writing to express my dismay at your removal of protections for transgender children instituted under the Obama administration.

Just as you and I did not choose to be straight, but discovered ourselves to have been wired that way, so LGBQT people discover and explore their sexualities rather than choose them. Since this matter is not a choice, it seems unreasonable and cruel to force people who identify as transgender to engage in behaviors, like using a bathroom assigned to a gender with which they do not identify, that make them uncomfortable and which further could expose them to bullying and harassment.

The people your action has targeted are children going through difficult developmental corridors in a culture that is often hostile to difference. I find your willingness to expose them to greater trauma to be morally questionable and personally repugnant. I am the mother of two boys, aged 10 and 8, and if they face difficult questions about their sexuality, I hope that they will be able to explore those questions in a safe, supportive, and understanding environment. It seems that the America you are creating will have none of those qualities.

On the day you won the election, you pledged that you in fact would act as President for all Americans. Your actions this week have proven that statement to have been a flagrant falsehood.

Febrary 10, 2017

I sent this to good ol’ Mitch along with a copy of Coretta Scott King’s indictment of Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be a federal judge in 1986.

February 10, 2017

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator McConnell,

The wife of our country’s most esteemed civil rights activist stood against Jeff Sessions twenty years ago, but a few days ago, you wouldn’t. You chose instead to silence a female Senator speaking out in protest against his appointment. You chose not to listen to her declamation of the letter, so I have enclosed the text for your perusal.

You, sir, again place yourself on the wrong side of history. You will be ashamed of your actions one day, as will your children and grandchildren, and as am I.

I decided to try a triple-barreled approach today. I called the White House Comment line (202-456-1111) to register my concern over Trump’s actions against transgender student protections. I also wrote a postcard with a short version of my talking points and then a letter with a  more fleshed-out treatment of the arguments.

 

February 15, 2017

Dear Senator,

I would like to urge you to press for the disclosure of President Trump’s tax returns. As questions about the administration’s ties to foreign governments keep troublingly and disturbingly surfacing, I think it is of the utmost importance that the people of this country have full knowledge of his financial commitments and of any potential conflicts of interest. It is becoming clear that such knowledge is a vital matter of national security.

February 15, 2017

Dear Congressman Nunes,

I read in the LATimes today that you told CNN that you would not push to investigate Flynn’s actions in December and January, citing executive privilege. I think that this is a mistake. Since when is potentially treasonous action (directly undermining the policies of a sitting president) a matter of “executive privilege”? Theoretically, the tripartite structure of our government is meant to check and balance abuses of power by any one branch. It is hard for me to see how collusion with a hostile foreign country can be considered something other than an abuse of power of the gravest proportions. It is hard for me to see how this abuse can be redressed unless a branch of the government does something to check this abuse. This is not the time to put political expediency and self-interest over democratic principles.

 

January 31, 2017

I emailed this to my Senator, whose phone lines were busy.

Dear Senator ,

Please vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ plans to implement the First Amendment Defense Act are unconstitutional (as demonstrated by the lunch counter demonstrations during the Civil Rights movement) and discriminatory. Betsy DeVos is spectacularly unqualified to be responsible for the Department of Education. Education is a collective, social goal and therefore completely unsuited to private sector management practices. People interested in privatizing public education, like DeVos, are simply trying to find ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the public trust and further to entrench patterns of socioeconomic inequality. Please try to convince likely Republican senators to join with in in voting to keep this dangerously incompetent, avaricious woman out of a position of great public power.

 

January 31, 2017

I sent a version of this letter to Paul Ryan and to Mitch McConnell.

 

January 31, 2017

20 S. Main St. Ste. 10

Janesville, WI 53545

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I am writing to you in your capacity as Speaker of the House. While I am not a direct constituent, I consider you an important arbiter of power in the democracy in which I am a citizen.

I’m writing to express my utter dismay that you haven’t spoken out against Trump’s travel ban on Muslims from a small cadre of Muslim-dominant countries and that you in fact have actively and openly supported it. Not only is the executive order unconstitutional, it’s deeply undemocratic, overtly discriminatory, and dangerous, as it will foster homegrown Islamic extremism, which is the only form of Islamic extremism that’s had any effect on the country since 2001 (and the perpetrators of that attack, of course, were predominantly Saudi nationals, and Saudi Arabia has been exempted from the ban).

Our democracy is at a crisis point and the Republican leadership is the last line of defense against what seem to me to be almost unimaginably horrific perversions of basic democratic principles. The fact that you have not stood up to Trump suggests to me that you are more interested in power and your career than in the preservation of the democratic values of a free country. Please stand up to Trump or you will be on the wrong side of history.

Trump is a bully whose sociopathic narcissism is being exploited by a cadre of people who can only be described and understood as fascists. He and the dangerous men pulling his strings need to be brought in line with the normal parameters of democratic governance. If you can’t or won’t do so, then you either misunderstand the responsibilities vested in you by the Constitution or you have chosen flagrantly to neglect them. In either case, you should be ashamed.